Do you ever get that feeling in your gut? You know that feeling… the one that nags at you all day, begging for your attention.
Then, if you don’t give it the attention it wants during the day, it comes back around to haunt you at night, filling your mind with the kind of racing thoughts and worries that prevent you from getting a good night’s sleep.
You tell yourself you don’t have time to think about whatever it is because you are BUSY and have bigger things to attend to.
Yet, no matter how busy you are, how stressed out you are, or how exhausted you are, you can’t do anything to avoid this nagging feeling because it just keeps coming back to you.
You know, deep down within your gut, that it’s there for a specific reason.
Something in your life is feeling “off” and your gut instincts are just trying to tell you something. Something important.
As days go by, you realize that the only way you’re going to be able to stop this nagging feeling is to stop everything you’re doing and just listen.
And what is your gut usually trying to tell you?
That’s right. That it’s time to make a change.
There is Clarity in Stillness
I’m just going to go ahead and say it. I’ve been feeling burnt out.
This past weekend I decided to rest my brain, take a break from doing “all the things” and really try to stop and listen to what my gut is trying to tell me.
One of the best ways I do this is through writing (my therapy), so you’re in for a real treat it in this post! 😉 Buckle up, because it’s a long one!
As I reflect on the past few weeks, I realize I have been busier than ever. Not only that, but as the weeks go by, I’m finding that I just keep getting busier and busier.
So I asked myself, what has caused this sudden change?
Well, for starters, my website traffic has been way higher than usual:
This goes to show that when you focus on getting more traffic to your site, it can mean more leads, more inquiries, and more bookings!
And this is exactly what has been happening!
However, I’ve actually received so many bookings that it’s becoming a little too overwhelming. I can’t keep up with all the work and I feel like my brain is always ON.
As much as I want to complain, I really can’t because, in the big picture of things, all of this just means my business is growing, and that is definitely exciting!
I’m busy because I’m standing out and getting noticed, which is obviously what I want, however, I also don’t want to feel constantly stressed out or feel like I have to work All. The. Time.
What I do want is:
- A proper work/life balance
- To enjoy the projects I’m working on
- To provide excellent service to my clients so they can succeed faster
Right now I feel like I’m being pulled in a million different directions, I don’t have a proper work/life balance, I’m not exactly enjoying the projects I’m working on, and I definitely don’t feel like I’m providing the best service to my clients.
Since I can’t provide my best work when I’m not feeling my best, something needs to change.
What My Gut Has Been Trying to Tell Me
In order to find a solution to any problem, you need to start by taking a deeper look at the source.
Over the past few months, I’ve been trying to juggle multiple client projects at once. I was pretty busy in January but was somehow able to manage all my projects okay.
But now that I’m a bit more well-known, plus I’ve been making some serious efforts to drive traffic to my site, I’ve been getting a hell of a lot more bookings!
In addition, I believe I’m booking more because other women feel like they can trust me to do a good job and provide a positive experience, judging from the quality of work they see in my portfolio and the client reviews they read on my site.
The phrase “more bookings” seems great… until you realize you still gotta do the work!
And yes, more work means more money, but only if you are charging for your services correctly.
And THIS is what I believe my gut has been trying to tell me.
I am not charging what I’m worth.
Why I Haven’t Been Charging my Worth
There’s definitely a reason why I haven’t been charging my worth and that all comes down to the fact that I recently rebranded (more on that in a bit).
But first, did you know that I started this business in January of 2013? After working over 10 years as a graphic and web designer for various marketing and advertising companies, I decided to quit my 9-5 job to start my own thing. I wanted to be able to make my own hours, be my own boss, enjoy the projects I was working on and have the ability to work from anywhere (maybe this is something you want, too?!)
I started out working with local entrepreneurs, small businesses, and start-ups, helping them with any kind of graphic design or website design job they needed, learning the ropes of freelancing and managing all aspects of running a business (aka wearing “all the hats”.)
After a few years of working with both men and women, I realized that I was having more positive and fulfilling experiences working with women, plus my style was more feminine in nature, so I decided it was time to make some changes… because, after all, I needed to be happy, too!
In 2017 I rebranded my entire business and started putting more focus on marketing to my new target audience:
Ambitious women who are looking to create an effective branding system that successfully communicates with their target audience and helps them get the kind of results they’ve always dreamed of. 🙂
This took a bit more work than I imagined it would, as I had to take the time to rebuild my portfolio with more feminine-looking projects, gain more positive testimonials from female clients, and write more educational blog posts that spoke directly to my target audience.
The goal of all of this was to attract more of the kinds of clients I wanted to work with, help them get a better understanding of what they could expect when they worked with me and to gain their trust, so they felt more at ease about investing their time and money into me.
Rebranding and rebuilding takes a LOT of time and effort to do… like seriously, A LOT. Which is why I feel so passionate about helping other female entrepreneurs get set up properly right from the beginning! 😉 I don’t want you to make the same mistakes as me!!
So how did I do it? Well for starters, I decided to create more package options at lower prices in hopes of appealing to more women, no matter where they were at in their entrepreneurial journey. I did this mostly to help me gain experience working with them so that I could get a better understanding of what they needed and how our processes would work.
I already had other forms of passive income coming in from my other 3 successful blogs, so money wasn’t exactly an issue for me. I literally just wanted to help any ambitious woman I could because I simply loved designing stuff, I enjoyed connecting with others who were also chasing their dreams, and, to be honest, I had a lot of free time on my hands.
After creating multiple successful businesses of my own, plus getting to know a bunch of female entrepreneurs and bloggers over the past few years, I knew what these women actually needed and all I really wanted was to help them succeed.
My goal was to become the person I wish I had when I first started out; someone to not only guide them in the right direction but actually help bring them results! I wanted to make a big impact and help them change their lives for the better!
I felt that once they experienced what it was like to work with me, they would be back for more and hopefully become a long-term client that I could build a relationship with.
Not only that, but I hoped they would tell others about me!
Well, I’m happy to say, after a year of rebranding and rebuilding, all my efforts have totally been working!
I’ve been attracting my target audience, I’ve been getting lots of positive reviews, and I’m finally getting booked out!
Each month I find myself moving closer and closer to two of my big-time goals for this year:
- To increase my brand identity and brand + website packages by at least double of what I started them at the beginning of the year
- To get booked out for months
Now, as much as I still want to help everyone, no matter what stage they are at in their entrepreneurial journey, I’m finding that I simply don’t have as much time as I used to. Not to mention the energy needed to juggle all of these projects!
I want my brand to help female entrepreneurs and bloggers create success faster for themselves, and so in order to do that, I’m going to have to start being a bit more selective about who I choose to work with and only invest my time into the people who aren’t afraid to invest in me.
If I don’t make this change, I’m going to have to continue working with low-budget clients who don’t see the value in what I’m spending a lot of my time and energy creating for them. When I don’t feel appreciated, I certainly don’t feel motivated to continue helping them!
A Deeper Look at the Changes I’m Making and Why
Ok, so for the past year (well, actually, 5+ years), I’ve been providing quality work for cheap, which is obviously going to attract more and more bookings over time.
More bookings mean more projects. More projects mean giving more of my energy to others, which, if I’m not careful, can cause me to spread myself a little too thin.
Balancing my time and energy is a tough thing to do when I am trying to juggle multiple projects at once as my schedule basically becomes unpredictable:
- I don’t know when a client is going to have their content ready for me and I need to have all content before I begin
- I don’t know when they are going to get back to me with their revisions (and if I have other projects I’m working on, this puts extra stress on me, plus it usually leads to project delays)
- Timelines are really hard to nail down and stick to, which means I don’t know when the project is going to be completed (neither does the client who wanted this done yesterday!)
- I don’t know when I’m going to get paid (or if I’m going to get paid… I’ve had some clients disappear halfway through a project!)
In addition, I’m finding that there are more:
- Custom quotes I have to take the time to create
- Things I have to keep track of
- Things getting missed and falling through the cracks
- Apologies for not getting work done on time or for missing things
I’m creating more work and stress for myself… and not getting paid for it (if that’s not the definition of insanity, I don’t know what is!)
All that being said, I decided to take a harder look at what I truly want for my clients, as well as what I want for myself, so I can figure out exactly where I need to make some changes… changes that will help me LEVEL UP!
What I Want for My Clients
- I want my clients to feel valued
- I want to be attentive and pour 100% of my creative energy into their project
- I want my clients to have a definitive start and end date
- I want to streamline the process so their projects get done quicker
- I want to meet my clients where they are at, meet their needs and take away any of their frustrations
- I want to help clients attract more business with less effort
What I Want for Myself
- I want to know how much I’m going to be making each month
- I want to earn what I’m worth
- I want to attract more clients who are serious and are ready to level up their business
- I want my business to feel exclusive and special
- I want quality clients who appreciate me and my work and who understand the value I’m providing them with their whole business going forward
- I want to have the energy to put into creating the best experience and outcome
All that being said, I decided to reach out for help recently to see what I can do to improve my situation.
Encouragement from Other Design Professionals
Something I’ve always struggled with is asking for help. I think this is because I never wanted to burden anyone with my problems and I never wanted to seem weak or stupid like I couldn’t figure it out on my own.
One thing I’ve learned over the past 5+ years of my entrepreneurial journey is that when you try to figure out everything on your own, you really just end up wasting a lot of your time and energy.
A closed mouth doesn’t get fed so if you feel like you need help with something, it’s important that you speak up!
Because this is what is going to help you get you where you want to be, faster.
That being said, I’ve recently started connecting with some other women in the design industry, in order to not only get some real-time feedback on what I’ve been doing, but to also to get some advice on what I should be doing, in order to better manage all of my work and truly take my business to the next level.
Yes, even as a brand designer, I need some help gaining clarity. I think it can be hard to see clearly when you’re on the inside of it all, so it’s always a good idea to get an outsider’s opinion, especially if you’re feeling stuck!
When other designers and website developers came to take a look at my site, this is the kind of feedback and advice I received:
- I’m very talented and really good at what I do
- I’m majorly undercharging for the value I’m offering + the time I’m spending on people’s projects
- I’m offering too many packages and that I should only have 1-3 of them
In addition, I also received an email from a developer who’s words really stuck with me:
Getting this kind of feedback felt amazing and really encouraged me to start making some big changes in how I run my business.
I am aware of the value I provide for my clients, even if some of them don’t get it, and hearing such positive things from others who do understand the value of what I’m offering lets me know that I’m on the right track.
I’ve come to realize that the clients who don’t want to pay a higher price point are just at a different place in their entrepreneurial journey. Many of my current clients are just starting out so they are pretty “green” to the business world, which means they haven’t experienced what it’s like to work their asses off, only to get a very small return on investment.
They don’t understand what kind of magical things can happen when they work with a professional designer who has ALSO already worked through many of the entrepreneurial struggles a new business may now be encountering.
I know I can not only supply some outstanding advice that can save my clients a lot of time, stress and money, but I also have the creative talent and experience to help my clients create a truly unique, cohesive and functional brand that really can catapult their business to new levels very quickly.
Anyways, after all the conversations I had with different women, I took a look at what I was offering and wrote down what I felt like I was doing wrong. Then I came up with some solutions to amend all of them!
My Problems and Solutions
1. I’m Not Niched Down Enough
Most of my services on my site appeal to more low budget clients. Unfortunately, low budget clients often don’t understand the value in what I do, so they are often looking for a discount or they ask to add more things onto their packages, yet they don’t want to pay more for them.
As someone who tends to be a bit of a people pleaser and who truly wants the best for my clients, I have found myself often over-delivering and just giving them what should have been part of a higher-priced package. This means I’m spending more of my time helping them get what they need, but not getting paid fairly for the value I’m delivering.
This doesn’t seem fair, now does it?
Instead of continuing to complain about these kinds of clients I can simply choose not to work with them. I’m busy enough as it is, so if they don’t want to pay my prices, that’s okay because this makes room for the people who will pay my prices.
I also plan to niche down a little tighter and create solutions for badass women who are serious about taking their business to the next level. I want to be more selective about who I work with and I only want to work with clients who are ready to STRATEGIZE and INVEST in their business. We are talking VIP status, baby!
This also means no more discounts (including the friend discount and the can-I-have-that-for-free-because-I-know-you discount), no more marketing to low budget clients and it’s time to get rid of my lower-priced packages!
In case you’re wondering, here’s why you should never discount your products and services.
2. I’m Offering too Many Packages
Too many packages mean more things to keep track of, more custom quotes I have to spend time creating and more time spent negotiating and explaining things to clients who are just not ready to understand the value they are getting.
I’ve always been a big fan of efficiency, streamlining and automating things, so by having just two signature packages, this will allow me to SIMPLIFY my design process which will allow me to become more efficient at it over time. Efficiency means projects will get done faster with less back and forth… think SEAMLESS!
My 2 Signature Packages Will Be:
- Brand Identity
- Brand + Website Design
These will include everything my clients need to get them set up properly so they can bust out of those magical entrepreneurial gates like the true majestic unicorn they are! 😉
If I have just one standard design process, my clients will come to know what to expect once they see the projects promoted on my blog or social media accounts. By featuring each completed project on my blog (under the Branded Boss Babes category), this will help my potential clients get a better understanding of the process and what they will get, which will also help cut down on the inquiries and questions and help them better prepare themselves to work with me. Plus it will help create more trust and transparency!
I also plan to work with just ONE client at a time, which will help me get the project done quicker + I’ll be able to give them definite start and end dates and cut down on any delays! My plan is to get women up and running within 2-4 weeks so they can start growing their biz or blog ASAP!
By working with one client at a time, this will also allow me to give them my full attention and creativity, which will help them feel more valued and give them someone they can bounce ideas off of during the process anytime they want. No more fighting for my time or chatting with me when I’m already exhausted! I’ll be 100% yours during the entire 2-4 weeks we are working together!
If you’re looking to create your own unique identity, feel free to check out my brand + website packages!